Fine art and gastronomy for the Cavalcade

Art and gastronomy: very few parts of the world can offer the kind of excellence in either that Italy does. However, combine the opportunity to sample the delights of Italy’s finest art, wine and food in the course of a tour by Ferrari and you will have an experience that is hard to match. That’s exactly what the 90-plus Prancing Horse client-collectors got on the second day of the Ferrari Cavalcade, a tour of the highways and byways of one of Italy’s most beautiful regions, Tuscany.

Today’s route initially wound its way through what has become known as Chiantishire because of the huge number of British expats that choose to holiday in the Medieval towns and gentle hills of the area. Gaiole in Chianti, the “Castles Route”, Monte OIiveto Maggiore Abbey, Montalcino and Pienza are just some of the places to which the Ferrari Cavalcade called. There was much to admire in terms of artistic treasures and, of course, everything from fantastic charcuterie made with old breed Cinta Senese pork and extraordinary local wines, including the stunning Brunello, to sample.

Arezzo, a gem of a town nestling at the confluence of three valleys, proved the high point of a stage that will live on long in the mind’s eye of those who took part. Few other Italian cities cram so much culture into such a small area: from the Medieval architecture of the upper town to the Renaissance beauty of the Piazza Grande, the Church of San Domenico and Piero della Francesca’s cycle of frescos in the Basilica of Saint Francis.

As the participants reached Montalcino, rain and showers of hail temporarily darkened the day in what is shaping up to be a very changeable early summer here in Italy. To make up for that, however, a dinner awaits them in one of Florence’s most traditional trattorias, the Ristorante Latini, where they will be served a host of the finest local specialities including ribollita and the thick Fiorentina steak named in honour of the city of the Medicis.

Tomorrow brings the third and very different stage of the Cavalcade. This time the Autodromo del Mugello, one of the world’s finest circuits both in terms of the track itself and its infrastructure, plays host to a regularity trial. The special guest instructor for the day is Japanese driver Kamui Kobayashi, a recent protagonist of the 24 Hours of the Le Mans in the 24 Ore 458 GT.